Every once in a while, a win is going to sneak up on the Pistons.
Or, more like they earned it.
Either way, the Pistons got off of their three-game losing skid with an impressive win over the Atlanta Hawks, 100-86, on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.
The Pistons had a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter and pulled away with a 14-7 run. Frank Jackson led the way with seven of his 18 points during the run, including a 3-pointer, an alley-oop from Killian Hayes and a drive through contact to the basket.
Jerami Grant also had 18 points, along with 15 points for Cory Joseph and 14 points by Hamidou Diallo for the Pistons (19-43), who don’t play again until Thursday.
The Hawks (34-28) were on the second night of a back-to-back and were without a number of their key players, including Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.
The Pistons seemed to have an improved focus on defending the perimeter, with Hayes accounting for three steals and the young players holding down the Hawks from getting inside and doing damage, as many teams have done this season.
“We contained the ball much better,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Everybody who participated did a good job.”
Another big Pistons bugaboo this season has been turnovers, and though they had 14, they only gave up 10 points off those miscues, which helped keep them in the game.
With a 74-67 lead entering the final period, the Pistons rode their young players to add to the lead. Diallo, who went 6-of-11 from the field, opened with a 3-pointer and added a drive, plus a 3-pointer by Jackson, to help push the margin to 82-69 at the 9:47 mark.
Clint Capela (12 points and 15 rebounds) scored on two straight possessions to get the deficit back to single digits, but the Pistons took off from there. Hayes hit a floater in the lane, which started the decisive spurt. Jackson added a 3-pointer and Diallo made one o f two free throws.
After a jumper by Bogdan Bogdanovic, Diallo hit another jumper and Jackson converted the lob pass from Hayes and the drive. The Hawks made another basket, but the Pistons got consecutive baskets from Sekou Doumbouya and Diallo to make it a 20-point game with 2:46 left.
“I’m so excited about Frank’s growth,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He comes in as a two-way player and he’s earned every inch of his playing time.”
In the first quarter, Grant got going early, with nine points, including a lay-in and a 3-pointer, for a 24-17 lead. Bogdanovic (17 points, seven rebounds and five assists) made three straight baskets before a 3-pointer by Saddiq Bey (11 points and eight rebounds) made it a 27-23 lead.
The Hawks stayed close behind John Collins (14 points and eight rebounds) and got a boost from Danilo Gallinari (12 points) off the bench.
The Pistons had a 10-0 run, including 3-pointers by Jackson and Joseph and a dunk by Mason Plumlee (10 points and seven rebounds). Casey balanced the minutes with the starters, using Plumlee for 21 minutes, Wayne Ellington for 23 and Grant for 27, including more rest in the fourth quarter.
For the Hawks to play shorthanded and on the back-to-back, it was tough to expect a burst, but they stayed in the game until the final burst.
“I don’t think it was our players’ letdown. I don’t think it was that at all. I thought Detroit just played aggressive, physical basketball on the defensive end of the floor,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said.